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This Side Of The Grave Cover Picture

This Side Of The Grave

Jeaniene Frost

Published 2011           357 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

Danger waits on both sides of the grave. 

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance…

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumours abound that a species war is brewing.  A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally" – the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war… to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

The Review

This Side of the Grave is the fifth novel in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. The Night Huntress books are best described as urban fantasy romance. They follow the long-running romantic development between the central vampire characters Cat and Bones, whose intense passion for each other provides plenty of opportunities for steamy scenes, while they also get to have regular adventures fighting all sorts of supernatural bad guys instead of enjoying their happy-ever-after laying on a beach somewhere (or whatever it is vampires do for fun when they aren’t saving the world.)

Without getting too hung on the finer points of the genre just know that these highly readable books are a mixture of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, giving them a large appeal to fans of both genres. Due to the long-running story arc that has been developing both the characters and their relationships throughout the previous books I’d recommend for Night Huntress newbies to read the series in order rather than starting here.

Established fans of the Night Huntress series should know by now what they are getting when they read a Cat and Bones story.

  1. Plenty of kick-ass action – check.
  2. Scorching hot romance – check.
  3. Evil monsters that cry out for someone to make the world a better place by killing them – check.
  4. A great cast of supporting characters written to be exciting and dangerous (and occasionally funny too) – check.

As expected This Side of the Grave provides all that – yet compared to earlier series offerings this book seems to lack the dramatic tension that made the earlier ones such compelling page turners.

Cat appears to be a more subdued character in this story. A lot of her arrogance and her foolish rushing into dangerous situations is missing from this story. While I often found her actions when confronted with danger to be unrealistic and occasionally highly irritating, I always enjoyed getting to see her fight her way out of the resulting mayhem. The plot of This Side of the Grave seems introspective with Cat accepting the reality of her immortal existence – that their dangerous jobs could mean that either she or Bones could die at anytime. The book also spends some time focusing on the terminal illness of Cat’s closest living family member and the way in which she deals with this sad loss, so I suppose the story was never going to be a non-stop funfest…

There are some interesting discoveries to be made about the nature of Cat’s freaky vampire powers and another appearance from Vlad (everyone’s favourite fire-wielding vampire) but the whole ghoul world domination plot lacks extended cohesion. The action parts of the storyline are spread through out the book yet, while they are thrilling in themselves, they seem disjointed from the main ghoul uprising plotline.

However, This Side of the Grave is still a fun read. Important developments in this story set up readers for the next instalment (check the excerpt at the end of the novel) which I’m already looking forward to reading! While this story may not be as fast paced as earlier ones it’s still highly enjoyable. All-in-all there’s plenty here for series fans to like…

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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